Church caretaker, 80, jailed and fined for threatening girlfriend's landlord with knife

An 80-year-old church caretaker who suspected his girlfriend was in a relationship with her landlord threw a kitchen knife at him in a brawl on holy ground.

Lim Song Chong hurled the 20cm-long blade at 65-year-old Mr Cheong Yee Mun, who escaped being hit by hiding behind a pillar at the Glad Tidings Church.

Mr Lim also threw an umbrella, a pocket knife and kitchen scissors at the retiree, who retaliated by chucking a fire extinguisher at his "very, very frail" rival. None of the projectiles hit their intended target and police arrived to separate the seniors.

Lim was fined a total of $3,000 and jailed for a day on Monday after he admitted committing criminal intimidation by chasing Mr Cheong with the knife and performing a rash act by throwing it at him. Another charge of criminal intimidation and two counts of throwing the smaller knife and scissors were taken into consideration.

The court heard that Mr Cheong drove to the Tampines church on March 2, 2013, to pick up Ms Leow Peck Fong, 48 - his tenant for about 14 months. He also wanted to persuade Lim to stop harassing him with phone calls.

Neither were at the church and when they arrived at 9.30pm, Lim threw his umbrella at Mr Cheong then went after him with the pocket knife. Mr Cheong hurled the fire extinguisher at him to keep him at bay.

Lim then threw the pocket knife at his victim, then the longer knife and scissors before police arrived.

Defence counsel Josephus Tan, who took up the case for free under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said a lengthy jail term was inappropriate as his client was "very, very old and very, very frail". The court also heard that Lim was on the verge of going blind because of a degenerative eye disease.

The lawyer also said Lim's mother died during the Second World War and his father abandoned him when he was 10 years old. Mr Lim was then looked after by relatives before becoming the church's caretaker 32 years ago.

Mr Tan also said the church had forgiven Lim and will allow him to continue working and staying there. Just for committing criminal intimidation he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.